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US warns it can act against people helping Iran evade energy sanctions

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The United States reserves the right to take action against any person helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions on energy shipments, a State Department official said on Friday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was responding to a request for comment on a Reuters report this week that at least two tankers have sent Iranian fuel oil to Asia in recent months despite U.S. sanctions against such shipments.

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“The United States, in cooperation with our allies and partners, is closely monitoring efforts by the Iranian regime to evade U.S. sanctions,” said the official. Washington “reserves the right to designate any person engaging in or facilitating these activities in accordance with our laws.”

President Donald Trump last year abandoned a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers. In November, his administration reimposed sanctions on Iran’s energy exports to cut off the country’s main source of revenue.

Trump aims to use the sanctions to pressure Iran over not only its nuclear program, but now also its ballistic missile program and backing of militants in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.

The shipments in question were loaded onto tankers with documents showing the fuel oil was Iraqi. But three Iraqi oil industry sources and Prakash Vakkayil, a manager at United Arab Emirates (UAE) shipping services firm Yacht International Co, said the papers were forged. The shipments show how some traders have revived tactics that were used to skirt sanctions against Iran between 2012 and 2016.

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A State Department official recently told Voice of America, a news organization funded by the U.S. government, that the Trump administration would go after anyone conducting off-coast ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian oil and is working with foreign governments to monitor the behavior.

David Peyman, the deputy assistant secretary of state for counter threat finance and sanctions, said U.S. authorities will take actions against ship owners, managers, insurance providers and mortgagees linked to ships involved.

“If you are engaged in evasive action, which is really the worst kind of violation when it comes to U.S. sanctions, we will hold you accountable,” Peyman told the VOA.

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Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Jonathan Oatis


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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CNN

White House aides want Trump to stop saying his Ukraine phone call was ‘perfect’: CNN’s Jim Acosta

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta said President Donald Trump's aides were frustrated with the president's defense of his phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he apparently tried to use military aid to extort political dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

Furthermore, there is fear in the White House that some Republicans may defect and vote to impeach the president — which would wreck their narrative.

"I just spoke with a source close to the White House a short while ago who objected to the president continuing to say that his phone call with the leader of the Ukraine was 'perfect,'" said Acosta. "Nobody really is echoing that message on behalf of the president. It doesn't seem that anybody here in Washington, except for the most partisan of partisans feels, that the president's phone call with the leader of Ukraine was perfect."

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2020 Election

‘Your hair is fabricated’: Trump blasted as a ‘dictator desperate to hold onto power’ after his ‘admission of guilt’ tweet

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President Donald Trump was clearly fixated on the impeachment inquiry, with his official Twitter account blasting out a dozen different attacks into his administration's solicitation of foreign election interference.

Trump started his morning on Twitter with a traditional Veterans' Day welcome but quickly began tweeting about the vaping industry, the election loss by Gov. Matt Bevin (R-KY), one day after a Trump rally and who won the Schwab Cup golf tournament.

But impeachment was clearly his obsession on Monday.

Shifty Adam Schiff will only release doctored transcripts. We haven’t even seen the documents and are restricted from (get this) having a lawyer. Republicans should put out their own transcripts! Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me, and read it to all!

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Rex Tillerson tells Nikki Haley she wasn’t important enough to be in his meetings

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Infighting among former Donald Trump administration officials escalated on Monday as former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson threw shade on former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

In an upcoming book, Haley charged that Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John Kelly attempted to recruit her to help "save the country" -- an effort in which she refused to cooperate.

Tillerson shot back at Haley on Monday, essentially saying it was above her pay grade.

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